Franken, Frankreich, Franconia...
Frankreich, Franken.. I'll try to explain more or less. The term Franks was first coined in the many dynamics and exodi after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. What follows should not be considered by viewing the continent as a puzzle of states as used to be relevant in the Roman times and would become relevant in the 19th-20th century. Rather the collapse will be followed by complex ties of differing allegiance and 'contracts' with a multiscalar patchwork of territorial and non-territorial entities.
Thus 'Franks' depicted groups whose organisation and/or culture was relatively Romanized, like there were also Barbarians, or maybe a bit more specific (nonetheless still very general) something like Goths, Huns, Vandals... Somehow historical writing didn't distinguish so much anymore between Sicambri, Chamavi, Bructeri, Chattuarii, Tencteri... It was the time of migrations to far away new land, and driving out established people to yet other lands. Call it Völkerwanderung or Barbaric invasions. Or a game of musical chairs (Reise nach Jerusalem in German or stoelendans in Dutch) all over the fertile continent with its many river valleys.
Decades after the final disintegration of the Roman Empire, Clovis united Frankish tribes, preluding an early notion of Francia and France excl. Bretagne, Burgundy and the North. The Iberian peninsula went on as Visigothic (in political organisation) while Côte-d'-Azur-Italy-Balkan was called Ostrogothic. Independent from Clovis' direct authority, though nearby, was the Thuringian kingdom(hood), the Salian Franks (precursor of the old county of Flanders), Ripuarian Franks (Rheinland), Alamanni (living in some precursor of Baden-Württemberg), Frisians (later north-Holland to Denmark), Saxons,...
The organisation of power went hand in hand with Catholicism. By the 400th birthday of the fall of the Roman Empire, the larger west of the European mainland was united as a Frankish empire (careful to think too much into empires and big entities with central governance, as this is mostly a way to view history invented in recent times when nation states surged, safeguarding central authority by making subjects identify more than ever with their authority and in the process making big states self-evident in their discourses).
Charlemagne died and the Carolingian Franks split up over three sons (Treaty of Verdun in 843) while Vikings sailed and rowed up several rivers in Francia. The immense unification and then divide was a long-lasting seed for territorial rivalries between large states, culminating into severe wars 600 years later and onwards. * Going back to 843:
On the one hand the eastern Frankish kingdom came to be seen as the new "Holy Roman Empire", and from early times is said to have occasionally been called "Germany". Something earlier the Ripuarian Francs (riverfranks from around Cologne) had taken the reign of the Germanic region of Franken/Franconia, which came to be called after these new kids in town. *.
On the other hand, within "Frankish" Western Europe itself, it was the original Merovingian Western Frankish kingdom, founded in Roman Gaul and speaking Romance languages, giving way to the idea of "France" – a name derived directly from the Franks.
In between 'Germany' and 'France', Middle-Francia came to be. Lothar's Kingdom. The empire – to a certain degree – exercised its organisation, jurisdiction and authority over smaller entities in areas like the lowlands, Luxemburg, later Switzerland, Burgundy, the later severely quarreled-over Lotharingen (Elzas, Vosges,..), Lombardy at the Mediterranean, Tuscany... The whole middle empire soon was divided and divided again with the passages of the crown, so soon its parts were easily taken up by either of the two aforementioned Francias (Treaty of Meerssen in 870).
Leaving the middle ages behind, slow evolutions gave rise to revolutions. The region of Franconia became a playground for the Reformation and the subsequent counter-reformations. Still today Franconia shows locally sharp contrasts in numbers of people identifying as either protestant or catholic. On the northern border with former East-Germany there is a sudden dramatic drop in people identifying as religious, a legacy of more recent decades.
So presently, as globalisation processes of the last decades instigated steady migration fluxes, now Orthodox (East-Europe) and Islam confessionists also show in the numbers.
Some present-day Franconia facts:
- The Franconian population number is decreasing.
- The Wolf population is increasing, which is easy to say as it comes from nothing. Cubs have been signaled in the Frankenjurian Veldensteiner Forst.
- Market-oriented statistics for purchasing power show the city agglomeration of Nürnberg excelling in Germany, same goes for its counterpart in the southern region (Altbayern): Munich's urban agglomeration. Let's say the entire German state of Bayern shows heightened numbers, though Franconia's numbers are relatively low within Bayern. To put all this in perspective: the entirety of Switzerland shows numbers of the same purchasing power scale as in Munich's and Nürnberg's fanciest outskirt.
- On linguistic maps Franconian dialects show a bulge presence all the way to Karlsruhe.
- You can bump into the witchcraft that are Steinerne Rinne, which are little heightened stone channels formed by the precipitation of calcium carbonate, like tufas are too.
Blue areas show regions with birth surplus, often highlighting the strong compensating effect of an influx of a lot of 20'ers and 30'ers, and the influx of non-native population groups with a different relation to the classic demographic transition that comes with education and secularisation, as we know in Western-Europe.